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Downing Street sources have made it clear Prince Andrew may not survive as a UK trade envoy if there are more damaging revelations about him.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the Duke of York would have to judge his own position, although there would be “conversations” about his future role.

The prince has been criticised over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier.

Ministers have defended the prince’s work, adding it is regularly reviewed.

“I think we need to remember he is doing this as a volunteer, he is not a government appointee, he is not somebody who is appointed and sacked,” Mr Cable told the BBC.

“The assessment of the businesses I have seen that have worked with him is that he has been supportive and helpful.

“I think it is down to him to judge the position he wants to be in. Obviously there are conversations which will take place with him about what he’s to do in future.”